As the son of a fourth-generation Dutch tulip farmer, Bakker was perhaps always destined to love nature, something that's reflected in his many careers to date, which include building sculptures from waste, selling worm casings to biodynamic farms and opening a zero-waste soup kitchen where discarded bones from high-end restaurants were used for the broth.
His vision of a world without waste and with urban farms and cities that sustain themselves might seem radical, but Bakker is adamant that this new future is on the horizon. His current creative project, Future Food System is a zero-waste, productive house that's open to the public to tour or book in for dinner or lunch. Located right in the centre of Melbourne, it grows all the food its inhabitants – two local chefs – cook, eat and serve, as well as generates its own energy. By showing people solutions, he hopes that he'll be able to convince them that this way of living is not only achievable, but aspirational, too.
We recently caught up with Bakker to find out more about sustainable living, how he's been influenced by both the Netherlands and Australia, and how long he thinks it'll take the world to catch up with his vision of the future.
Q: You've been described as "one of sustainability's most provocative advocates". Why is it important to be so forthright on the topic, and why is this especially important right now?
My whole life story revolves around waste and zero waste, and I have a real belief that human beings need to adopt what the rest of the planet already uses, which is a zero-waste approach. We're the only species that doesn't do this.
But I've never been somebody that's been vocal. I don't go out and do talks and say, "this is what we should do". Instead, I'm a big believer in physical projects. For me, it's always been about showing rather than telling. I think a living, breathing example is the best way to educate people, and that's why Silo, the world's first zero-waste cafe that I opened in Melbourne in 2012, was so successful.